There’s an old saying in boxing:
“Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird rear end.”
It’s about not being able to back up your talk and Saturday afternoon at Welcome Stadium, a 5-foot-9 Jacksonville University cornerback found out that maxim works just as well on the football field.
Midway through the second quarter, he held onto Adam Trautman, preventing the University of Dayton’s 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end from catching another Jack Cook pass.
Although he was penalized for holding – giving UD a first down on the Jacksonville 27-yard line – the Dolphins defender started yapping at the Flyers big receiver.
“You can’t do (crap) on me!” is what Trautman heard the guy yelling at him.
Never mind that the Flyers tight end already had caught two touchdown passes in what would go on to be a record-setting day for him.
“I was like, ‘Dude, what you talking about?’” Trautman said afterward with a shrug and a smile. “It was hard to respond to that. It was just so stupid.”
Rather than debate, Trautman just went about business as usual. Six plays later he caught another touchdown pass and 89 seconds after that he caught yet another.
It was his fourth TD catch of the first half and that broke the all-time Dayton record for touchdown catches in a game.
The Flyers won 56-28 and the redshirt senior finished the day with six catches for 107 yards as he also shattered the record for career catches by a Dayton Flyer. That had been held by Bill Franks – who was in attendance Saturday – and whose record of 133 had stood for 30 years.
Trautman now has 139 career catches.
Not to be outdone, Cook set a school record with his six touchdown passes in the game.
Afterward though the quarterback especially praised Trautman:
“He’s bigger than everybody. He’s faster than everybody. And taller. He’s an NFL guy for a reason.”
Trautman has caught the attention of NFL teams. The Oakland Raiders and New York Jets had scouts at Saturday’s game. To date 29 of the league’s 32 teams have either come to watch him at practices or in games.
UD coach Rick Chamberlin – whose Flyers are off to a 3-1 start this season — said last spring the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts became the first two teams to come watch Trautman. Now NFL visitors are an almost daily occurrence.
“In all my years here – (he came to UD as a player in 1975) – I‘ve never seen anything even close to this,” Chamberlin said.
And this season he figures Trautman is living up to the hype. He’s shown he can block – especially in the upset victory over Indiana State in the season opener – and Saturday, once again, he showed he certainly can catch.
“He’s big and smooth and can run, but it’s his hands,” Chamberlin said. “That first catch he made today was typical Adam Trautman. He stretched high, went up and snagged the ball. He has strong hands…Strong hands! When the ball’s there, it’s secured.”
Yet the thing Chamberlin is most appreciative of when it comes to Trautman is not the catches the guy comes up with, but the pitch he made five seasons ago.
Trautman played at tiny Elk Rapids High School in northern Michigan. He had only 18 players on his team as a junior and 21 as a senior. The team couldn’t even practice 11 on 11. Most players played both ways. The team never played a game on turf.
Trautman was the team’s quarterback and starting cornerback, but he was overlooked by most colleges.
He said is situation “definitely” played a factor in his college recruitment: “They don’t want to go waste a scholarship on an unknown kid. They look at the competition level, too, and they’re scared to jump on all that.
“And I was a late bloomer, too. By the end of my junior year I was like 6-3 and 175 pounds. By the time I started to grow, the FBS schools already had their quarterbacks.”
Cornell made an offer to him and pressured him to commit immediately. When he hesitated, he said they talked of pulling the offer and that’s when he called the University of Dayton.
He knew about the Flyers program. His older brother Andrew had committed to play for the Flyers but then jumped to Missouri University of Science and Technology, an NCAA Division II school that offered him a scholarship.
The entire Trautman family had liked the UD experience then and Adam – who wanted to study engineering – thought it would be a great fit
He said he’d commit if UD made him an offer and a day later the Flyers did.
Soon after Michigan State said it would take him as a preferred walk-on, a position he likely would have parlayed into a scholarship and may have put him on the field for the Spartans at Ohio Stadium on Saturday night.
He said no thanks.
Harvard made an offer as well, and again: “No thanks.”.
“I’d promised,” he said. “And I’m a pretty loyal guy. UD was the best fit for me academically and I wanted to be part of a winning program. And I like the football culture here. You’re with 110 of you best friends. It honestly feels like that. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
He redshirted his first year at UD and with some guidance from Chamberlin, switched from the quarterback position to tight end and quickly made an impact.
His parents – Lori and Rod —make the eight- hour drive in an RV to each game here and agree UD has been good place for their son. Now their youngest boy Alec is on the team, too.
“It’s been excellent,” Rod said. “He’ll get his engineering degree in December and it looks like he’ll get a shot at the NFL.
“He’s been able to do a lot here.”
Saturday he even turned an alligator into a hummingbird.
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